Young Warriors held

HARARE - Two schoolboy blunders from Zimbabwe opened the door for Mozambique to grab two away goals to edge themselves closer to a second round berth in the African Youth Championships qualifiers.

The young Warriors, who enjoyed better possession throughout the match, had to twice rally from behind to give themselves a chance of salvaging victory in the return leg set for Maputo in two weeks time.

Even the numerical advantage that resulted from the sending off of Mozambique’s Germino in the 58th minute by Malawian referee Denis Nguluwe for a second bookable offence could not help the hosts.

Instead it was Mozambique who walked away from Gwanzura Stadium a satisfied team.

Mozambique took the lead in the 31st minute very much against the run of play.

The visitors benefitted from communication breakdown between Zimbabwe’s defence.  

It was an early Christmas present for Jonas who gladly tapped in.

Zimbabwe were not dismayed and rallied from behind, courtesy of a coolly-taken penalty kick by Prince Edward School’s Tinotenda Kadewere.

Mozambique’s Seven was adjudged to have handled inside the box by Nguluwe to hand Zimbabwe a penalty in the opening minute of the second half.

Buoyed by that dream start to the second stanza, the Young Warriors began to punch holes in the Mozambique defence with Kadewere, Bastos Chihowa and Cleopas Kapupurika making some incisive runs.

But the side were soon to fall to their own mistakes when Zimbabwe captain Carlos Mavhurume needlessly brought down Mozambique’s Infrain inside the box with Nguluwe correctly pointing to the spot again.

It was a gifted penalty for Mozambique as Infrain was no where near causing any trouble for Zimbabwe goal keeper Tatenda Mkuruva’s goal.

Aristides took the responsibility and stepped up and scored with a shot that rattled the right hand of the inside post.

Second-half substitute Viala Tadzoka produced a moment of brilliance with a solo run inside the box to draw out Mozambique keeper Pedro before slotting the ball home to level matters once again.

Zimbabwe continued to probe the Mozambique defence with Kadewere and second half substitute Denzil Chimwemwe coming close.

However, Mozambique held off the final onslaught to earn what could be a decisive draw.

Zimbabwe Under-17 coach Lloyd Chigowe said: “Obviously we have a lot of work to do to qualify for the African Youth Championships. But we are still in it if you recall we once lost to South Africa in the first leg and then went to beat them away.”

Carlos Manuel, the Mozambique coach was happy with the result.

“It was a good game, we took our chances and we will secure victory in Maputo,” he said.

Meanwhile, Goldtech Electronics, who were lured by the Friends of the Warriors, gave the Warriors branded caps and T-shirts.

Goldtech pledged to give away an Apple Ipad II 64 gig valued at $1 300 to the man-of-the-match in today’s first leg final African Nations qualifier between Zimbabwe and Angola at Rufaro Stadium.

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